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If you plan to take a metered taxi, ask for small notes when you exchange currency. The exchange booths are familiar with this request, and will comply willingly. A reasonable supply of 100฿ notes and ideally some 20฿ notes would be best. Many taxi drivers either do not have small change, or will tell you they don't, hoping you will let them keep a large note/bill to avoid a problem or delay.
There are exchange booths scattered throughout the airport-- most are open 24/7 regardless of day. There is even one in the baggage reclaim/Customs Hall area- immediately after passport control. You can easily attend to your money matters while you wait for your bags.
There are also ATMs. ATMs typically dispense 100, 500, and 1000 baht notes, up to 20 notes per transaction. If you choose to use an ATM, it is suggested that you withdraw 9,900฿ instead of 10,000฿ (for example) as this forces the ATM to dispense several smaller denominated notes. Be aware that most ATM's now charge 150฿ for all withdrawals using foreign cards. ATMs are set to dispense a maximum of 20 notes, so withdraw 15,900฿ to get the biggest amount possible with some 100 baht notes.
(If you neglect to get change, all is not lost! If you use the toll highway, the Expressway, the toll booths are obliged to change 1000฿ notes. Pass the driver a 1000฿ note to pay the toll, and voila! You have change. Please count it.)
After you have your Thai baht and have reclaimed your baggage, continue to pass through customs control (Thailand uses the standard Red/Green lane system). Note that there are more ATMs in the general arrivals area if you missed the one in the Customs Hall. After you clear customs, follow the signs to "PUBLIC TAXI" on Level 1, one floor down from the Arrivals level, and join the queue that may form just outside the building.
Taxis and limousines can be prebooked with Talixo. It's one of the few reliable European apps that have full coverage in Thailand, allowing to pre-book a trip to or from the airport, along with online payment options and economy car service class which is often cheaper than a regular taxi.
DO NOT use the LIMO/TAXI services offered by TOUTS . They can tend to swarm around you once you have cleared customs. These touts will charge rates that can be as much as 200% to 300% of normal metered taxi rates.
Once you make your way to the taxi desk, tell the dispatchers your hotel or other destination.
*DO NOT ASK ANYONE "HOW MUCH?" It's a metered taxi. The cost is dictated by the meter. Asking HOW MUCH is tacit approval to being charged a flat rate.
They may give you a YELLOW slip of paper with your destination written on it. Take the paper to the line of drivers and hand it over to the supervisor. It will be exchanged for another larger WHITE slip of paper with your taxi driver's name and number written on it and an explanation of the 50฿ airport surcharge (which you will add on to the fare at journey's end - see below).
KEEP this slip of paper, ( there is NO information on this slip of paper that the driver needs, he's already been told where you are going - it's yours, put it in your pocket in case of any difficulties during the trip or when you find you've left some property in the taxi, or for any other issue that may arise ).This slip of paper identifies the specific taxi and driver you are using.
Remember Bangkok Taxi meters ALWAYS start at 35฿ ( see below)
You can ask the driver to take the toll/express way (although this is not always necessary especially in the late hours). If you elect to use the Tollway/Expressway, you will need to give the driver 75฿ for the tolls if the driver pays, you add it to the meter fare at the end of the journey - see below. (The tollway charges increased to 25 + 50 = 75฿ on September 1st, 2013.)
There is also a mandatory 50฿ Airport tax/surcharge. Notice of this is stamped on the form. It wiill be added to the metered fare at the end of the journey.
If possible, get your hotel name written in Thai, or print out the instructions in Thai for drivers that many hotels put on their websites, Bangkok has thousands of hotels, and no driver can know them all by their English names.
A taxi ride to most hotels in the Sukhumvit, Silom, or Khao San road areas should cost you between 200฿ and 250฿ on the meter PLUS the 50฿ airport surcharge PLUS any tolls paid by the driver (if the Expressway was used that will usually be a total of 75฿).
Your journey should take about 30-60 minutes depending on the day, time of day, and weather conditions, but 35-40 minutes is average for Sukhumvit, Siam or Silom.
If you want to work out "exactly" how much your metered taxi should cost (and you know the distance from the airport to your destination within Bangkok - use google maps) check this link to the rate advertised in all Bangkok taxis;
Taking Taxis from Departures 4th Floor:
It is now possible to get a taxi from the 4th floor departures area. Taxis arriving at the 4th floor departures level who are discharging passengers are now allowed to accept outbound passengers. There is no 50 baht airport surcharge, and the driver must use the meter. If the driver suggests a flat rate, politely decline and move on to another taxi
AOT operate "limos" out of the Airport. They have a desk in the baggage claim area and also in arrivals. Rates to the lower Sukhumvit area start at around 1000฿ for the cheaptes vehicle, and go up from there for mini-buses (for more passengers or luggage) or more luxurious options. AOT website: http://www.aot-limousine.com/web/inde...
There are many well regarded private transfer operators in Bangkok. These can get you from the Airport to your Bangkok Hotel, or almost ANY OTHER place you want to go in Thailand (for a fee). Here are just a few - so DO shop around;
taxiwell.com an out-standing airport transfer in Thailand
bangkok transfers Offers private transfer in bangkok and nearby destinations.
Oriental Escape is one of the most popular transfer services, priced from 900฿
ATT (Airport Transfers Thailand) offers airport transfers beginning at 1080฿. They also organize shared Arrival and Departure transfers.
Siam Resorts Limousines provides professional airport transfers and Fast Track arrival services.
Thailand Stretch Limousine For those times when you're looking to impress, they have an 8½ meter imported Limo (seats 10).
Bankok Airport Transfers with standard and premium sedan, MPSs and minubuses up to 10 passengers. (BKK airport to city from 29€, 3 pax)
Departing is even easier.
Avoid taxis parked at the hotel, go to the kerb and flag down a passing taxi available for hire (available indicated by the illuminated red light in the passenger side windscreen - see below)
If you get any resistance to using the meter rate, move on, and walk to the kerbside. Flag down a passing taxi and try again. There is no need to settle for any fixed rate in Bangkok, nor should you.
If you have leftover Thai Baht, you can spend them before entering Passport Control at any number of merchants or food/drink outlets. There are even airport branches of the Family Mart convenience store located on Level 3 and 4 of the terminal building. Prices at the airport are the same as at city-centre branches of Family Mart, which is a real deal compared to the other stores in the airport. This is a great place for a delayed traveller to grab a quick snack. Remember that no liquids, gel or aerosols (greater than 3ozs/100ml) are allowed past security checkpoints (without proper exemption).
If you want a more substantial meal, you can also visit the "locals" food court (located on Floor 1) called "Magic Food Center" which is open 24/7. It operates on a 'coupon' system. You have to buy coupons with Thai baht to cover the cost of your meal. You can return unused coupons for a refund when you leave. Details of the food court here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-...
Many of the international departure gates involve a fairly long walk. Therefore it is a good idea to start heading for your gate well before the time printed on your boarding card.
Bangkok's main airport has an underground train station at the basement level. This is the Airport Rail Link line operated by the SRTET. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, head down to the basement level to reach the Airport Link concourse, where plastic fare tokens or a pass must be purchased prior to passing through the ticket barrier and descending to the platform. You can access the inner city and connect with Bangkoks two other metro services, the elevated BTS and underground MRT.
The ARL has two types of trains. An Express service (Red) which is currently suspended and the normal commuter service -- the City Line (Blue - shown in the pic above). Most passengers take the City Line. (Note that the ARL, the BTS & the MRT all use stand alone ticketing systems, ie. they are not intergrated. Thus, you will need a different ticket for each system until late 2015 when an intergrated ticketing system may finally be launched in Bangkok)
The ARL Airport Express trains depart every 60 minutes, non-stop to Makkasan and take 15 minutes. The first train departs at 6:30, then every hour at :30 past the hour with the last train departing at 00:30. The fare for the Airport Express is 90 baht one way or 150฿ return (within 2 weeks). From Makkasan you can take a taxi to your final destination, or use the pedestrian walkway to the Phetchaburi MRT station (300 metres). The Airport Express has dedicated luggage racks and tends to be underused with only around 1500 pax a day, meaning trains are almost empty and there are lots of seats.
( As of September 2014, all Express services were suspended until further notice due to a shortage of rolling stock availability. k).
The ARL City Line makes eight stops (Suvarnabhumi to Phaya Thai) and takes 26 minutes. The City Line departs every 10 (peak) to 15 (off-peak) minutes on weekdays. On weekends and holidays trains depart every 15 mins.The last train departs the airport at 00:02. Fares range from 15฿ - 45฿ one-way - Airport to Phaya Thai is 45 baht - depending on the distance travelled. At Phraya Thai you can easily transfer to the BTS Skytrain via short pedestrain link.
The City Line is a commuter train and is used heavily by locals who live and work along the line and for those traveling to and from the airport. It tends to get very crowded during morning (from the airport) and afternoon peak hours (to the airport). There is adequate space in the trains to stand luggage but no dedicated luggage racks. This is more of a problem for those going to the airport in the afternoon or early evening. Coming from the airport, it is almost never difficult to find a seat. (Note that both the BTS Skytrain and the MRT are very crowded during peak hours if you intend to transfer to one of those services.)
Many stations are handy to areas where travelers tend to stay, for instance Ratchaprarop is near Pratunam, Makkasan is not far by taxi or MRT (subway/underground) from Lower Sukhumvit and Ramkhamhaeng is a 10 minute (60฿) taxi ride from Thonglor.
Here is a MAP showing the airport rail link togther with the MRT (subway/underground) and BTS Skytrain.
Departures : If you take a taxi to Makkasan Station and then take the ARL Airport Express, the difference in overall cost may be minimal compared to simply taking a taxi all the way to the airport, and could actually end up costing more in total if there are several of you travelling together.
Taking the City Line could offer a substantial cost saving and will often be quicker during peak hour or during heavy rain though.
The Airport Link in general is not very convenient if you have a lot of heavy luggage and/or several children. But it is very doable if you are travelling reasonably lightly with the standard rolling suitcase or a backpack.
Phaya Thai Station: At Phaya Thai BTS Station there is no down escalator to the concourse level (one is currently being installed) but there is one elevator which means that you may have to wait to use it or take the 47 stairs down to concourse level.
After going through the ticket barrier you walk over the ramp and up an escalator to the Airport Link concourse. There is both an escalator and a small elevator up to the platform.
Makkasan Station: There are elevators and escalators to and from the platform at Makkasan station. Makkasan Station is close to Petchaburi MRT (subway/underground) station via a covered elevated walkway. The walkway slopes towards the MRT station so moving a wheeled bag is easy. The 5 minute walk is easy with a small amount of luggage, but not recommended for a person with several pieces of heavy luggage. There is a taxi stand at the station. If you are transferring to the MRT, leave your bags unlocked so they can be checked by the MRT security guard.
There's more info at the ARL website including route info, fare info and all timetables.
Here is a MAP showing the airport rail link togther with the MRT and BTS.
Suvarnabhumi Airport provides luggage storage at 100 Baht per piece per day. There are two stations to store your bags, one on level two and one on level four.